Biography Hawaii - Joseph Nawahi

SUBHEAD: Free movie Sunday, April 25th, 6:15 pm at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center.

By Ray Catania on 17 April 2010 for Island Breath -

Image above: Detail of poster for movie with photo of Joseph Nawahi.  

"Biography Hawaii: Joseph Nawahi", a movie about the life of Kanaka patriot Joseph Nawahi. Nawahi was a member of the Hawaiian Legislature for over 20 years, and was jailed by the US government for vigorously organizing against annexation and fighting to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii. Also to be shown will be a short animation, "The pinky show" on the history of US colonialism in Hawaii. Discussion will follow the movies and refreshment will also be served.

Sunday, April 25th at 6:15 pm at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center Auditorium

Sponsored by Manaoha. For more information call Ben Nihi at 634-0469, email Ray at or go to the website at

Though little known today, Joseph Nāwahī was a Hawaiian patriot and Renaissance man. A teacher, surveyor, lawyer, cabinet minister, newspaper editor, and artist, he was born in Puna, Hawai‘i on January 13, 1842. An outstanding pupil at the Hilo Boarding School, Lahainaluna on Maui, and the Royal School in Honolulu, he eventually became the assistant principal of the Hilo Boarding School. 

Elected to the legislature of the Kingdom in 1872, he represented Hilo intermittently for the next 20 years. He served briefly as the minister of foreign affairs, and became a trusted advisor of Lili‘uokalani during the last months of the monarchy. Nāwahī took a leading role in Hawaiian nationalist politics. With his wife, Emma, he founded the Hui Aloha ‘Āina political party and its newspaper Ke Aloha Aina, and they worked tirelessly and selflessly to stop annexation, and to restore Hawai‘i’s independence as a nation. 
Nāwahī’s editorials and speeches of this period are some of the most passionate and articulate expressions of faith in the Hawaiian people and their ability and right to govern themselves. Because of his influence, he was seen as a serious threat to the Republic of Hawai‘i, which arrested and imprisoned Nāwahī for acts deemed “treasonous” to the government. While a political prisoner, the harsh conditions of jail seriously affected his health, and he died in 1896.


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